As guests walk into Yahara Bay Distillery, they are acceptable to aboriginal lay eyes on Carl, the 90-gallon, hand-pounded nut pot still. From the bar, they can watch the distilling action and adore handcrafted cocktails. The liquor showroom, adverse of Carl, displays Yahara Bay’s signature articles including vodka, the anew appear 3rd Gear and apple-brandy (for Old Fashioneds, of course), anniversary captivated in a altered label.
Next to the exhibit is the distillery’s art gallery showcasing pieces fabricated by local Wisconsin artists. Toward the aback of the distillery, guests can adore alive music in a lounge breadth with retired board barrels broadcast amid tables and chairs.
While it seems like Yahara Bay, the aboriginal distillery in Madison, has everything, it was missing one thing: food.
With the barring of arctic pizza and cheese sticks, guests could alone ample their stomachs on spirits. That is, until the alpha of the ages aback Yahara Bay appear a new card focused on bounded products.
Chef Josh Pleasnick is the prep-cook, band baker and the dishwasher all in one. He’s additionally a bit of a MacGyver, as he’s alive after a stovetop; much of the aliment he makes is able in one of three toaster ovens, a hotplate or a panini grill. We recently sat bottomward with Pleasnick to ask about the new card and his accord with food.
Where did you get your alpha in the aliment industry?I use to be a gunsmith and I use to accomplish accoutrements and I aloof didn’t appetite to do that anymore. I went aback to my roots and went aback to affable because I appetite to accomplish bodies advantageous and happy. I larboard the gunsmithing angel and started alive in restaurants. It went aback to me missing growing my own vegetables and seeing what we could accomplish with them as a kid. I went into affable and never came back.
Did you accept a garden growing up?I had my own garden. I had my own chickens. I fabricated dupe cheese with the neighbor’s dupe [milk] bottomward the road. That was aback we confused to Wisconsin and we were active in a babyish boondocks alleged Herman. I anticipate seven bodies alive there — it’s ambrosial abuse small. Our neighbors were all asleep — we lived aing to the graveyard and appropriate aing to the church. Our pastor would appear over and we would accept potlucks. I absent that part. We had a smokehouse on our property. We had angel trees. We had pear trees. It was what I bare aback I was growing up, it was actual relaxing.
Did you abound up in a big family?No I aloof had one sister. Aback I got earlier I started to baker for myself and I didn’t absolutely apperceive what I was doing, but I had my great-grandmothers cookbooks, which I still have. I apprehend all her handwritten notes, handwritten in pencil. They accept all the dates that she approved the dish- so I’ll see addendum like “1951: fabricated these accolade and they angry out great, but they bare a little bit added cinnamon.”
What do you baker for your family? I accept three daughters (ages 10, 6 and 3) and about accustomed they deathwatch me up and ask for pancakes. Pancakes and eggs altered means is a circadian thing. They still accept simple aftertaste — I’ll try to accomplish the article cool adorned but in the end they are still kids. My oldest daughter, we adulation to broil together. She alloyed the pancakes this morning, she did it after a compound and I aloof adapted them. My added two adulation to help. My youngest laid on the arena and cried for 20 account because I wouldn’t let her able the eggs.
Give us some highlights of the admission menu.Muenster Cheese Curds $5Usually aback I aftertaste cheese curds I aftertaste old fryer oil and it’s not appealing. I can abysmal fry anything. We got in these beginning muenster cheese curds from Monroe. Aback we aboriginal got the cheese acerbate they were beneath than 36 hours old from the time they were cut to the time that they came into the building. I blight them until they got melty. I like them beginning and I like them balmy — it is a little caramelized with a altered texture.
Three P’s $2 I acknowledgment and back-scratch up some beginning attic seeds and bandy them in with some chili appearance popcorn. Crush up some pretzels that I spice, so there are three altered spices on it all at once.
Beer Schmeared Grilled Cheese $6 half, $11 wholeI capital article that kids and adults will like. I accomplish a bacon jam to accomplish it a little added upscale. I cede our bacon, caramelize onions in stout beer and again I chrism them all together. I add apricots to it to accord it a little fruitiness and acidity to go forth with the smokey and the salty. Schmear that on with a babyish swiss and a cheddar.
Do you get a lot of kids who appear to Yahara Bay Distillery?We absolutely get absolutely a few kids. The cliche “baby on a bar in Wisconsin” is absolutely a affair here. Parents will accompany in their kids a lot on Saturdays. We try to accumulate it as kid affable as accessible — a lot of bodies who assignment actuality accept children. We are still a distillery but we appetite to accomplish it feel adequate for a family.
How does the card pair with the atmosphere?Almost aggregate on the card has one of our liquors or articles in it. I try to anticipate how do the card items brace able-bodied with the affair we actualize and how do they bout with our setting? I capital to accumulate it tapas style, babyish aliment at a low cost. So if you appear in aloof for a cocktail, you don’t feel bad about acclimation some food.
Anything abroad you capital to add?This is an asperse yourself in the acquaintance affectionate of place. Walk about with a cocktail and attending at art. Sit bottomward and accept to alive music. Chat at the bar with your acquaintance and watch the distilling action happen. Aback you are actuality you are in the action of it all. You are watching what you are bubbler actuality made. You can aroma the aliment affable you can apprehend the music, acquaintance the art about you.
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